Lazare Carnot

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... the sciences are like a beautiful river, of which the course is easy to follow, when it has acquired a certain regularity; but if one wants to go back to the source, one will find it nowhere, because it is everywhere; it is spread so much [as to be] over all the surface of the earth; it is the same if one wants to go back to the origin of the sciences, one will find only obscurity, vague ideas, vicious circles; and one loses oneself in the primitive ideas.
Essai sur les machines en général (1783)
When a body acts upon another one, it is always immediately or through some intermediate body; this intermediate body is in general what one calls a machine.